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Quick Guide to Disney International Parks

disney international park - hong kong disneyland, World of Frozen

Most people know about Disneyland and Walt Disney World, but do you know about Disney’s international parks? If you’re looking to broaden your Disney vacation horizons, you might want to check out the Disney resorts around the world.

In addition to locations in Anaheim and Orlando, there are four Disney international resorts: Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney, Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disney. Some resorts include multiple parks (i.e. Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, etc. in Walt Disney World) – making a grand total of 12 parks – and seeing them all is a travel wish list for some Disney fans.

You may be thinking “Seen one, seen ‘em all,” but the Disney resorts outside of America are full of surprises and unique experiences.

Hong Kong Disneyland

Hong Kong Disneyland is built entirely on reclaimed land. Their little centerpiece castle was recently renovated into the grand Castle of Magical Dreams, which pays homage to all the Disney princesses. Hong Kong Disneyland is currently undergoing a huge overhaul of the entire park, including the addition of new lands. Be on the lookout for the new “Frozen” inspired land debuting soon.

The best unique attractions at Hong Kong Disneyland include Mystic Manor (a distant relative of the Haunted Mansion), Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars and the Iron Man Experience. There’s also a trilingual version of the Jungle Cruise, with lines in Mandarin, Cantonese and English.

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Tokyo Disney

Tokyo Disney was the first Disney park to be built outside of the USA. It’s also the only Disney resort that isn’t partly owned by the Walt Disney Company itself, though they do have creative control. Tokyo Disney is comprised of two parks: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Tokyo Disneyland is a riff on the “castle park” Disney-resort style, with a Cinderella Castle, Main Street USA and a series of themed lands. Tokyo DisneySea is a nautical-inspired park, with themed “ports of call.” It’s not a water park, just a park with a water theme.

“If I could visit any Disney international park, it would be Tokyo Disneyland,” said Cady DeBlois, a AAA travel advisor who specializes in Disney vacations. “Their DisneySea park is the only one of its kind out of all of the Disney parks. One of Toyko Disneyland’s most unique features is that Main Street is covered by beautiful Victorian-style glass, so no need to worry about the hot sun or rain! These parks seem the most unique, while still keeping that Disney charm present.”

The best attractions unique to Tokyo Disney are Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, Monster’s Inc. Ride & Go Seek, Journey to the Center of the Earth and the Venetian Gondolas. A lot of diehard Disney fans love Tokyo Disney, and some even go so far as to say Tokyo DisneySea is the best Disney park in the world.

disney resorts
Disneyland Park in Paris.

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris consists of a castle park, called Disneyland Park, and a park based on Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, called Walt Disney Studios Park. Originally known as Euro Disney, Disneyland Paris is a charming resort with a little bit of European flair.

The best attractions unique to Disneyland Paris are Phantom Manor (their version of the Haunted Mansion), Crush’s Coaster and Alice’s Curious Labyrinth. Disneyland Paris is home to one of Disney’s most beautiful castles. Their centerpiece Sleeping Beauty Castle is playful, colorful and inspired by nearby historic architecture. There’s also a dragon underneath, which is less historic and more awesome.

Shanghai Disney

Shanghai is the newest of all the Disney resorts, and it shows. This glossy, beautiful park is jam-packed with thrill rides and amazing attractions that reimagine stateside Disney classics. Shanghai Disney is crowned with the largest castle out of all the Disney parks. The Enchanted Storybook Castle is tall and sprawling and very pink, with several attractions housed inside.

Shanghai Disney is perhaps the most unique castle park, offering a variety of new attractions and lands, with a layout inspired by the rules of feng shui. Hong Kong Disneyland attempted to solve the Main Street USA feng shui problem (a straight road leading to the castle that caused chi to flow out of the park) by bending the walkway from the train station to the gate. Shanghai Disney solves the problem by replacing Main Street USA with the (much shorter) Mickey Avenue, followed by a large Chinese garden filled with Disney versions of the Chinese zodiac animals. The winding pathways of the garden protect Enchanted Storybook Castle’s chi.

The most exciting and unique attractions at Shanghai Disney are Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure (which deviates wildly from other Pirates of the Caribbean rides), Voyage to the Crystal Grotto and the Roaring Rapids.

Disney Parks Around the World: A Private Jet Adventure

If you have disposable income in the six-figure range and about a month of free time, you can travel to every single Disney park around the world in a private jet. This is, in fact, a real vacation package offered by Adventures by Disney, and it takes 24 days to complete the entire trip. It also includes visits to the Lucasfilm campus, Disney’s studios, the Taj Mahal, the pyramids of Giza and Versailles, naturally.

Book Disney Parks Around the World: A Private Jet Adventure with AAA Travel.

“You stay in the best resorts at each theme park, have some VIP tours and basically get treated like royalty at each park,” said DeBlois. “I would love if Disney offered a scaled-down version of this for Walt Disney World and Disneyland that may be a little more affordable and cater to those without passports.”

What’s next on your list of Disney vacations around the world? Would you go on a private jet adventure to Disney international parks if you could? Let us know in the comments below.

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Featured image: Hong Kong Disneyland’s new World of Frozen is set to debut on Nov. 20, 2023. ©Disney

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4 Thoughts on “Quick Guide to Disney International Parks

    1. Hi there!
      Wow … that would be one amazing trip! A AAA Travel advisor would be happy to discuss it with you. Feel free to schedule an in-branch meeting by visiting AAA.com/Travel.
      Please let us know if you take this trip – what a story that would be!
      Take care,
      Dana L.

  1. Can I get speed passes from AAA? Character lunch specials? We’re going to Disney World in May. We already have our entrance tickets and will be doing Magic Kingdom. Thanks for any help you can provide. Peggy Sanders

    1. Hi Marjorie!
      If you purchased a Disney package through AAA, we’d be more than happy to help you! Please contact a travel counselor at AAA.com/Travel. If you purchased your Disney tickets through Disney, you’ll have to go through their website for assistance.
      I hope this was helpful! Have a great time!
      -Dana

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